Some days, it seems as if I have just woken up. The hours following my surgery are still so vivid in my mind. It has been a little over a year, and some days it feels like I am still laying in that hospital bed. It seems like it was yesterday since the feeling of numbness first set in.
After my decompression surgery, I woke up with paralysis of the feet, saddle area, bladder, and legs. The following days after waking up from surgery were rough. To be honest, these days were some of the most heart-wrenching days I’ve ever endured. The one thing that made me smile and pushed me through those days was self-reliance. A few hours after surgery I was flexing my dead feet and then a few days later I was walking the hallways. A few months passed, and I continued progressing and was walking up stairs. The whole time, I felt tired, miserable, and defeated, but the passion to succeed with CES pushed me every step of the way
During my extensive physical therapy phase, I promised myself one day I would climb the stairs at Saul’s Mound in Pinson, Tennessee. I wanted to prove that CES would not own me. Pinson Mounds, is an old Native American Archaeological Park. Saul’s Mound, the second highest prehistoric mound in the United States, is the focal point of Pinson Mounds. A stair climb of 125 steps in 12 flights, and 72 feet high would be a feat to conquer for anyone. To not only rise above Pinson Mounds but to rise above CES, I knew it was a challenge, I chose to accept.
After a year of promising myself and choosing to take on this task, June 4th will be a day I will never forget. This was the day I had been waiting for. Knowing I had chosen to accept this challenge, fear began to set in. Dealing with this fear for so long after my diagnosis, I almost let it keep me from accomplishing such a great and daunting task. After climbing 125 steps, 12 flights, and 72 feet of mound, I made it to the top, with tears streaming from my face. These were no longer tears of fear or defeat, but of happiness, joy, and success.
I did it! As I climbed Saul’s Mound, I felt every stair. It seemed as though I was not only conquering the feat itself, but also so many hurdles I had felt since my diagnosis of CES. It was then that I chose to not let CES own me or my happiness. Sometimes I look back and wonder why I was spared full paralysis. I could have easily been permanently paralyzed, but there is always a reason. Whatever the reason, I believe I was given the opportunity to experience a new feeling in life. This will never again be the feeling of dead weight, of failure, or fear, but the feeling of success, and guess what...it’s beautiful!